TOURING BY THE NUMBERS
Weeks on the Road: 3
Total Weeks on the Road: 8
Pounds of coffee: 1.75
Pounds of fruit eaten: 20
Miles traveled: 3,500
Hotels visited: 5
Props replaced: 1
Set pieces repaired: 1
TOUR THUS FAR
First you have to meet my tour partner, Tony Milder. Not only is Tony incredibly talented, funny, and kind — he also does a great Diane Rehm impression! More than all of that, he’s teaching me a lot about taking better care of myself by being an outstanding role model. Although Tony wasn’t supposed to be touring this winter, (original actor I was paired received an offer from Disney) the Fates brought Tony my way and I couldn’t’ be more thankful to get to perform alongside this multi-talented triple-threat kind-of-a-guy!
You also need to meet our tour car, Chubby. Chubby is a Cube and hates driving in snow, rain, wind, hail, city traffic, and parking lots. However, Chubby LOVES driving in the sun and to the beach. Tony and I learned all these fun things about Chubby as we made an 18-hour commute through a blizzard that spanned 4 states. Tony and I hope that by the time our tour is over all the snow and ice in Minnesota is gone and Chubby can navigate as normal.
Touring for The National Theatre for Children is such a dream job — I’m loving it! We’re doing a super-energized show called “The Energized Guyz,” similar to last fall’s show — but different. In the show Tony is playing Nikki Neutron and needs to learn about energy, resources, and water to defeat Dr. Maybe (me) in the big quiz. Along the way Nikki meets up with a she-male costumer (me) and tech guy (me) to learn more about resources to take on Dr. Maybe in the quiz. It’s silly and fun and educational and sketch comedy and different every day.
Today during the show a young audience member kept laughing at EVERYTHING we did. It was hilarious! This student was cracking-up teachers, other students, and yours truly. That little laugh of his was the definition of infectious…and I couldn’t be happier about breaking in front of 200 kids. Theatre is all about moment-to-moment and in that moment, laughing was appropriate.
It was also appropriate to laugh when Tony was attempting to stifle a cough but accidentally let a piece of spit fly from his mouth. The costume designer character I was playing commented on how gross it was, wiped the spit away with a handkerchief, and again laughed right along with the rest of the audience. These shows are magical in such a simple way… Again, I love this gig!
When we were in Charlotte this past week I ventured into the city to see some of the sights. I saw some short-form improv by the Charlotte Comedy Theater, fell in love with the Kopecky Family Band, and discovered the best bakery in Charlotte.
On Monday I thought I was supposed to see a sketch comedy show, but the Fates had other plans in store for me… Which brought me to an open-mic at The Evening Muse. After many awesome musical acts near the end of the night an intoxicated stand-up started calling the acts names, making some inappropriate racial digs, and generally: being not funny. I couldn’t sit idly by! So I made a comment here and there and pretty soon I was up on stage speaking my piece, with passion, from the heart. At the end of the night the comic approached and we chatted about why each of us did what we did. If you want, follow him on Twitter, he’d like that.
Today I’m flying back to Minnesota for a corporate gig on Tuesday, but then Wednesday it’s back to “work.” I’ll probably write about that stuff later…
Oh! And if you want a postcard from the road, email me your address: michael (at) michaelvenske (dot) com.
Hope all is well, wherever you are!